TWO days after Christmas Nathan Lukey’s life changed in a split second.
The Harrietville man, 26, had dived into a swimming pool to cool off from the December heat.
“After a hard day’s work I came home to have a swim and that's where my new life began,” he said.
“I remember coming to after knocking myself out and feeling completely helpless to move, I managed to call for help and was pulled from the pool.
“I remember my mum holding my head still as I asked to pull my legs out of the pool because I was cold, to which she responded: ‘They're not in the pool’.”
Nathan was flown to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for the next six days before he was taken to the Austin Hospital for spinal surgery.
“I remember after surgery feeling like I could barely breathe after having my breathing tube removed,” Nathan said.
“I had completely smashed my C6 vertebrae, which damaged my spinal cord and unfortunately causes paralysis.
“Feeling helpless in a bed with no movement at all, wondering if this was to be my story, and me forever.”
After intensive rehabilitation, Nathan has gone home to live with his parents at Harrietville but still travels to Melbourne two days a week for rehabilitation.
Although Nathan remains in a wheelchair, working towards improving the natural recovery of his hands, his future remains positive.
“Doctors have told me ‘you will never walk again’, which is my motivation to prove them wrong,” Nathan said.
“My family has been incredible throughout this whole experience and I couldn’t have done it without them.
“With everyone’s fantastic support I believe that I can still live a great life and continue to achieve what is said to be impossible.”
Bright Brewery will host its Christmas in July fundraiser on July 22 to help support Nathan's recovery.
Bright Brewery marketing manager James Davidson said the business was always looking for ways to give back to the community.
“Each year we hold a Christmas in July event to support a local community member in great need, with all profits from the event donated to brightening their future,” he said.
“Nathan’s tragic story spread quickly through our local community and our team all knew that he was the right recipient for this year’s fundraiser.”
The Christmas in July fundraiser will bring together the community for an afternoon of games and entertainment.
Auctioneer Jason Reid will host an auction of donated produce and goods from throughout the North East.
For tickets, visit: brightbrewery.com.au/christmasinjuly